Norway is a long, narrow country on the northwestern edge of the European
continent. The northern third of Norway lies above the Arctic Circle and is
called the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Because this region is so far north, it has long periods every summer when the
sun shines 24 hours a day. Oslo, Norway's capital and largest city, is in the
southern part of the country.
A Short Background
Despite its neutrality, Norway was not able to avoid occupation by Germany in
World War II. In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of
Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's
economic fortunes. The current focus is on containing spending on the extensive
welfare system and planning for the time when petroleum reserves are depleted.
In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU.
||Northern Europe, bordering the
North Sea and the
North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden
||62 00 N, 10 00 E
||4,503,440 (July 2001 est.)
||Evangelical Lutheran 86% (state
Protestant and Roman Catholic 3%, other 1%, none
note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
||Norwegian krone (NOK)
||1 EURO to Norwegian Kroner: 8,179 (April